Author Spotlight: Philip Brown

See full issue for 2016 03-21

If you had a writing motto what would it be??
Never let go of your dream. Ever.

Where do you draw your inspiration??
I'm a high school teacher, and my students inspire me everyday. Many of them come from disadvantaged backgrounds,and yet their spirit, humanity, humor, sense of adventure, and ability to care never ceases to amaze me. Their lives are filled with great stories waiting to be told.

I'm also inspired by my family. My maternal grandmother was a single mom in a foreign country, and I have three amazing sisters, a wife, a daughter. All embody strength and fortitude that I drew upon in creating the female hero for my book.

What is one interesting fact about you??
I once lived in a coffee shack on the Big Island of Hawaii, overlooking Kealakekua Bay.

Have you learned anything from the self publishing process and would you do anything differently next time??
The number one thing I've learned is, simply, be prepared to invest more time than you think you'll need to market and promote your book. A lot more. There should be some formula that shows the number of hours writing the book equals X number of hours promoting it. They just might be equivalent--or surprisingly close.

What I'd do differently next time is lay the foundation for a marketing strategy earlier in the process and establish relationships with influencers. I'd forego much of the tactical advice from book marketing gurus and focus on basics like a Facebook fan page, a blog, and a website, making sure those are part of a broader network of authors and readers. I'd also cultivate relationships with indie bookstore owners much sooner in the process. They love indie authors and are in a position to help us succeed.

What has been your most successful marketing strategy??
My most successful marketing strategy has been Goodreads giveaways and netwroking, as well as engagement with online book bloggers and reviewers (who also do giveaways in support of my book).

What is the best kept secret you have found in regard to indie publishing?
My indie publisher amazed me when they turned out to be the most attentive editors of my book. Their editor went through my book with a fine tooth comb, exhibiting such care and--dare I say it?--love, that the book was brought to a whole new level. From the micro (punctuation) to the macro (adding new scenes), nothing was left behind. I don't believe I could have received that level of attention from a larger publishing house.

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